sweet puppies
recently one of my cyber acquaintances lost her mother. i haven't been able to stop thinkin' about her sadness but since i don't know her well enough to send her suggestions on how to go forward in the comin' days that will turn into years o' missin' her mom, i thought i'd blog about my own experience here.

my mom died three years ago from breast cancer. once i got through the first stage of sadness and began to try to resume my life, i realized that since her death, thoughts about my mom popped into my mind hundreds o' times a day and each time i had to do my best to not to be pulled into that dark hole that is so very close to your feet durin' the difficult times of your life. it's okay that the monster within had a grip around one o' my ankles - i could deal with that - but once i allowed it to yank me into that dark deep hole, i knew i would be in serious trouble for a long period o' time.

when you have a loved one die from an illness it's not like in the movies or on television. they don't just get sick and then lay in bed and after awhile, close their eyes forever. it's usually long and drawn out and sad and noisy and really horrible and they seldom look anything like they did when they were well. so it takes quite awhile for your thoughts of them to be of who they were before they became sick. this can't be forced - i know cause queenie i and talked many times about tryin' to do so. we wanted our thoughts to be of the happy lil chatty lady who never had a good hair day and still thought polyester was the best invention ever, who never met a stranger and who everyone loved. instead the visions that danced in our heads were of a shrunken person with one sprout o' somethin' that looked like sprigs o' steel wool stickin' outta the top o' her tiny head...someone who was usin' every bit o' strength she had left just to breathe in and out.

after her death, it took almost a whole year for thoughts o' my dear mom to return to the mother she was before those last sad days. it just happened one day that the pictures that accompanied the constant thoughts that popped into my head without warnin' was the one i had longed for. it was around this time that i had the revelation that kept that monster from pullin' me down into his dangerous hole - those constant thoughts of my mom weren't brought about by her death - they had been there all along! it was just that i didn't pay much attention to their steady presence until each one was associated with sadness and pain.

i realized that my mom had been there in almost everything i did almost every day - how could she not be? she's the person who had either taught me how to do everything i did everyday or had been there the first time i did the things i still do or i had talked to about the things that make up my every day life. somewhere as i brushed my teeth or sewed a stitch or did a doo dad, long before she was sick, she was there. when i put mini to bed or comforted her when she had a bad day or prayed for the body snatcher to snatch some other pre-teen-bein', she had always been poppin' in and outta my mind (especially durin' the body snatchin' times - i do so owe her an apology for my own time with the body snatcher).

i'm pretty sure this is what all daughters must experience somewhere deep in their subconscious their entire lives, in everything they do - the floatin' in and out of thoughts and images of our moms. maybe sons do it too but not havin' been anything but a daughter i can't say for sure. anyway, none of us pay much attention to 'em 'til our mothers are lost to us and then these 'visits' can make us feel a constant sadness that are capable of sendin' us straight into the monster's depressing hole.

realizin' this has made all the difference for me. little by little i began to let myself celebrate my mom's life and look forward to her poppin' in and out of my daily life instead of associatin' each visit with her loss. it also helps me be a better mom to mini cause knowin' she too will always have me poppin' in and out, i want to be at my best in each pop!

there are still those times where i am overwhelmed with sadness that my mom died but there are now more times when i just feel lucky that she was mine and was here to be mini's grandmother. mini spent her summer bakin' and sewin' and more than once she announced outta the blue, 'wouldn't grandmother melissa be so happy to see how i love the same things she loved". i am thankful i could be delighted at her feelin' and sharin' this with me and not in some dark hole unable to hear her.

i do so hope my cyber friend can move closer each day to celebratin' her mother's life and if she ever feels like she may fall into the grip o' the monster, feel free to ask for help from those who have experienced a bit more healin'.

today's blog accompanyin' art is - once again - the cute lil un-dogs that surround me. i promise to change subjects soon if you'll indulge me just a lil longer!


Anonymous said...

all I can say Mayor Mo, that you have put into words so eloquently the essence of what I too go through daily.. it has been 17 years for me now, and I have my Mom pop in daily too... she told me before she passed away that she would always be with me,and she is. I too was fortunate to have a wonderful Mother who was always there for me, and just reading what you wrote, all I can say is ditto. When it just happens, even though others tell you you will remember the happier times etc., you never believe them, but slowly but surely those happy times do come in to play... Sometimes you dream about them in the present, but they are always with you, and surprisingly enough sometimes you are fortunate to look in the mirror, and see those wonderful traits that you admired when you were a mini and looked up to is now staring back at you. Thank you for sharing this with all of us, and to your cyber acquaintence, I am so very sorry for your loss, but you are not alone. We are all here for you and will be delighted to see your layouts with your wonderful mother adorned with doo dads and share in your wonderful memories of her. Wonderful blog Mo, and the memory smiles you have brought me this morning of my mom just by reading of yours.. Hugs a bunch.. Christa (and PS I just love the pics of tink & coco!!)

Anonymous said...

Oh Miss Mo, you have such a gift for conveying feelings in words. Losing a parent is never easy. I am lucky to still have my mom and reading this makes me realize I need to appreciate the time we have a little more. Losing my step dad left a hole inside that will never be emptiness that brings tears to the surface still after all these years. I hope and pray that he is getting to somehow watch his grandson grow up and that he hears every day how much we still miss him and need him. Although he was not my biological father, he was MY FATHER in every way that counted. He was the one that convinced me to go to art school and do what made me happy over 10 years after getting my degree in computers. His words were that life is too short not to chase your dream no matter what age...that it is never too late to start.


Anonymous said...

This was an incredibly moving entry, Mo. I lost my mother and my grandmother this past year. As simplistic and trite as this sounds, it really has helped me to be able to scrapbook old pictures. I said I was doing this for my daugter, but really, I'm doing it for myself. When I pull out the old pictures I'm 8 years old again. A picture of the kitchen makes me remember the smell of the refrigerator when you opened the door. Photos of the old farm remind me of being small and looking up into my grandmothers smiling face. I can feel the summer warmth from the pavement coming up through my flip-flops (we called them thongs) as I skipped down the street and the sound of the screen door closing behind me. It really does help doing this scrapbooking thing. I think my daughter will appreciate it, if not it's helped me. Just remember, if you keep one foot under the covers the monster under the bed can't get you.

Thanks for your wonderful memory inducing doodads, Mo.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful blog Miss Mo. It will help all of us put things into perspective. I am lucky to still have my mom and be able to let her know how much all of those things she did for us when we were little meant to me. She is always delighted when I remind her of some little tidbit she had forgotten and I delight in seeing her do things with Macy that she did with me. I didn't always appreciate it way back when, but I sure treasure every moment now.

It is wonderful that Mini recognizes how special it is that she and her grandmother have common loves... I know her Grandmother Melissa is looking down and enjoying every one of those moments with Mini -- especially those wonderful smells that come from her baking!

I am happy that the times your mom pops in are the happy ones now and that the dark days are lifting. Glad to know too that Tinks days are better and that she's getting more used to the frisky little puffball in the pink bow. Keep their pics coming -- you can't ever get tired of cute! :)


Rosa said...

Oh Mo, thank you for your words. I am happy to hear that you do begin to remember them as they were. My mom lives with us and she is beginning stages of dementia or something even worse. I pray every day that she doesn't ever have to suffer. Thank you for your latest post. I'm sure it will touch more hearts than you will ever know. --Missy R.

Sweet Remembrance said...

Mo...Thank you for the reminder of how lucky those of us are that still have our mothers here!
I am sorry you no longer have yours...I'm sure you do her proud!
Take Care...

Anonymous said...

hello mo, it is always a good day when i see you have made a blog entry. this topic of mothers is smack dab in the middle of my heart at this time so this one is timely. being a mom, being a daughter and being a grandmother all have me thinking about so many important things. my mom always wanted to be a good and loving mother. i feel terribly sad when i realize how little appreciation or affection we showed her in our growing up years. i try hard to be a good mother too for to my grown up child and now i get to help her do the same with her own new born child. it is a blessing to be alive! thanks you for sharing your mother wisdom today mo. i miss my mom every day. oxo

Anonymous said...

gI love your blog and I am a frequent reader.I posted once about the "change"..the old switch-a-roo...anyway..I am writing today because july of 2006 my mom was diagnosed with 2 kinds of cancer and congestive heart failure.She lives with my husband and I.We don't have family(his are in kentucky)most of mine are here in calif...but are not "around"..I take care of her..and it has been the hardest job of my life..when I think of the things she could do just over a year ago..walk, know who I am..she use to bake! OH could she scale will tell you!...its devastating..she will never bake can it be that just over a year ago I was enjoying a great chocolate cake that she baked...she has good days...but when its bad...its just awful.It took me 4 months before july of last year to get her diagnosed! I was called an overprotective daughter, a worry wart...but I kept plugging away...then finally the diagnosis. I can honestly say I cried for two weeks.The last time I cried that hard was when my dad dad went quick...after going through this...maybe that was best...sometimes I look at the clock and its 9am...I look again and its 5pm...I know that you make the best of the time you have left...its been a long, hard road...but others have survived it, and maybe I will too...Thanks for letting me vent!

Bettsi McComb said...

Mo, you touched a lot of hearts with this post, mine included. I lost my mom to cancer in 2002. And yup, she is always with me. What a powerful figure! And like you, I struggle with that monster, but I would face ten of them to keep my memories of my mommy. We belong to a sad sisterhood.

Anonymous said...

sweet missy mo, you have given such great comfort with your words. thank you for sharing about your mother, the struggle and now the victory. I lost my mother 12 years ago and I still tear up when I think of her but along with that are all of the wonderful memories, how she would spend time with me to teach me how to sew, how to cook, keep the house clean...she just never seemed too busy for me. She even let me pick out paint colors for the rooms in our house when I was only 7 years old, what trust and she always encouraged me in the arts and being creative. I so appreciate my heritege and I am now passing it on to my three daughters and they love to hear stories about their grandmother, her kindness and goodness which is who she was. Your blog is so helpful as I had two friends that have lost their mothers just this past week. I hope I can comfort them as you have comforted us. Thank you mo, sometimes I think you truly must be an angel, a very talented and gifted one. much love,

suesue said...

thanks for the words--i have a younger sis with breast cancer, stage 4 and we cope on a day to day basis right now. hopefully, i'll remember the comfort of your words when i need them most.

Anonymous said...

Miss Mo,

It's been five and a half years since I lost my mother and I still think about her hundreds of times each day and probably thousands each night. After reading your lovely post today, I just know I can turn some of those things around and tomorrow will be better.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mo,

Thank you so much for this entry! I just got home from the nursing home a few minutes ago where Mom and I visited Dad.

This has helped me so much. We are losing dad inch by inch. One day he is here the next day he isn't.

I should say, one moment he is here the next he isn't.

Alzheimer's too is a long, slow and very painful death for the whole family.

This explains how you could be so kind, understanding and generous to me during these long months with my Dad's illness and my husband's and mother-in-law's cancer treatments.

You understand! I am so greatful! Thank you for reminding me that after the rain comes the sunshine.
Pam Stewart

Anonymous said...

Your feelings are they way I feel right now. It has been almost six months since I lost my Dad. I have been in a daze since he left. Seeing my Mother grief is also hard. I hope with time we can get over this but right now we struggle. He fell one day and the first hospital misdiagnosed a broken neck even making him get up to walk . We had him moved to another hospital only to find out there was nothing they could do for him. He died the next morning, they shock was unbearable.

Anonymous said...


You really touched my heart. I am too overcome with recognition of your words to do them proper justice.

God Bless Mo, God made you for more than Divine Doo Dads.


Maija said...

I don't know why I happened upon your blog today but I am glad I did. I feel like you were speaking to my grief. I have been really worrying about that black hole as the holidays are here. How will I be able to celebrate these events when all I want to do is crawl back into bed? Mo, this post has moved me in a way no other words have. Only women who have lost their mother can understand the horror of watching her die. It's worse than anyone can imagine. I am bawling my eyes out, with relief, that someone, you, has articulated the feelings I have inside since I lost my mother. I keep trying to put one foot in front of the other every day - and I even try to pretend it never happened - that this kind of sadness was never visited upon me. But it has, and I have to survive without her. I recently chose my buzz word for the year - hope. Your experience gives me hope. It is so beautiful the way you put everything into perspective. You have shown me a way to appreciate all those times I think of my mom each day! I know I will be re-reading that post a lot over the next several months. Thank you for sharing, sweet Mo.

Tammy said...

Mo! My sweet Maija sent me over here to read this post, and I'm so glad I did! I lost my sweet mama in February, and everything you described so beautifully and eloquently here is so right on. And the poppin' in and out thing...and it being there all along, even before our mom's were sick...sometimes when she pops in, I feel badly because I think, "why didn't I think more about her when she was healthy?" But, I know that's just the monster talking, and I know I thought about her all the time before she was sick. My dad, too. I lost him last November. The two of them in three months. It's really been hard. But I can remember Dad now healthy and well. I'm not there with Mom yet. She got sick so fast after Dad died, and was just literally a shadow of her old self. So sick. I get glimpses of her healthy, but in my dreams she's still in the hospital and we're trying to figure out how to get her better and get her out of there. Well, I'm rambling now. I just want you to know how this post has touched me, and given me some comfort. Here's to our mamas...and Maija's, the heavenly ether drinking mai tai's and smiling down on their girls. xo

Maija said...

I just wanted to let you know that I stopped by today to visit your post on Mom's, for a little comfort and support!

Anonymous said...

You've hit the nail on the head, exactly. I lost my mom when I was 16. She was a single mom, and the "black sheep" of her fam, so it was just she and I. She was the one who taught me to sew and see the beauty in eclectic junk, and the joys of refried bean food fight. Losing her decimated my world, and even now, at 32, when I've been alive as long living with the loss of my mom as I was before she died, it hurts daily. But celebration of who she was and what she taught me causes (almost) as many smiles as tears these days, and things do keep moving on. I don't have any daughters of my own yet, and I know that the loss will come pouring back when I feel it from the "mommy" perspective for the first time. She does inspire me to this day, though. She was a dressmaker...just ASTOUNDING with a sewing machine. Had a teensy lil barely paid the rent business called MoonWorks (she was, after all, the wonderful Heather Moon)in which she used vintage fabrics and textiles to make amazing clothing (Gorgeous dressing gown from antique chenille bedspread, and poets blouse from linen tablecloth). So now, much time has passed and I find myself starting my own little creative endeavor. Never had time before, as I was working 70 hour weeks. But I'm recently disabled, so now I've got the ability to pursue creative endeavors. So what do I name this new lil business of mine? Yep. MoonWorks it is. And I hope that someday I've got a daughter who looks back someday at the things I teach her with such fondness. You obviously have the benefit of seeing that cycle continue, and that is afterall what life and love are about.

Thanks so much for your blog entry. Really made me think about mom in ways I haven't in a while, and I needed those memories right now.